Literary Zone

Short story-The Angel of Death

28 December 2008 at 00:27 | 1061 views

The Angel of Death

By Bakar Mansaray, Toronto, Canada.

As she limped along the bush-path that led to the refugee camp, the early morning dew prevented Alyma from seeing the tent that was home. The pot of water on her head became unbearable to carry. The sunlight was yet to reflect the age on her dark skinny body. Although she was a teenage girl yet her missing right foot made her feel like an old woman. The crutch underneath her left armpit squeaked at every footstep like an oil-less hinge.

At first cockcrow, Alyma arrived home shivering and went to bed immediately. She tried to calm down but the spasms from repeated vomiting and excessive perspiration became painful. She grasped for breath but in vain. She felt the presence of the angel of death standing over her helpless body like the sword of Damocles, asking:
“Who are you?”
She muttered,
“I’m a God-fearing person.”
Thereafter, without any further ado, the angel gently took away her life. Like a dream, Alyma’s soul heard her relatives wailing over her corpse. She wished they could stop the wailing and convey her to the cemetery.

Alyma was buried the same day before sunset. In her grave, she heard the footsteps of people retreating from the cemetery. Suddenly, an electrifying flash of lightning shed light in the grave and the angel of death reappeared:
“Resurrect and go wherever you want to go as the Day of Judgement is yet to come!” The angel commanded.

Like a bird soaring in the easterlies, Alyma’s soul went home to her family. She saw and heard the living and the dead. She came across hundreds of other souls heading breezily in different directions. In a state of total incommunicado, they hastily repelled each other like opposite poles of a magnet. They all appeared in white flowing robes, neither male nor female devoid of any form of eye contact.

Alyma arrived home to find another soul of a beautiful woman mourning among the living. She was also in white flowing robe. The woman beckoned to her saying,
“Come to me, I’m your mother”
But Alyma could not understand what the woman was saying. By gesturing three times, the woman pointed to Alyma and then to the sun as if to say go away and follow it.

Alyma began to move towards the sun sweating profusely. As she got closer to the sun, it became a valley of resurrected souls. Whilst some were taking the right-hand path, others went left. She took the left-hand path and found herself among “greedy-guts” fighting to eat the flesh of one another, and throwing their bones into a raging inferno. Three of these gluttons grabbed and hurled her into the inferno uninterested in devouring her.

With only a head and two hands, she found herself bodiless falling into an abyss. Her hands became mouths; one single eye stood on her forehead wide-open like the head-lamp of a hunter. Whilst her left mouth narrated all her wrong-doings, her right mouth sang songs of praise. She kept falling deeper and deeper until her soul changed into a white dove and soared out of the abyss onto a mountain.

From Alyma’s bird’s eye-view, whilst perching on a rock, she saw a deep valley below her in the form of a beautiful garden with flowers blossoming and different fruits dangling from golden branches. She saw a river of milk flowing towards a magnificent waterfall. The hot sun shone brightly creating a rainbow around the falls. Alyma heard the chirping of birds, the roaring of lions, the trumpeting of elephants, and felt the gentle breeze of eternal bliss.

Bakar MANSARAY, 2008.

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